I don’t know where the term “wow factor”came from. The Oxford English Dictionary defines “wow” as a natural exclamation first recorded in Scots in the 16th century. How it became attached to “factor” is not clear. It would be a bit special if someone discovered that it was used to describe why John Knox’s preaching in 16th century Scotland was different to everyone else’s efforts in the pulpit!
Just recently I was talking to someone about their faith and the way God was answering their prayers, and the thought struck me ‘This person’s faith has a big “wow factor”’. That thought was followed by the thought that some people need the “wow factor” restored to their faith.
What are the signs that your faith might have lost the “wow factor”?
Here’s a few possible signs:
You don’t have the same zeal you used to have for prayer, reading your Bible or fellowship
When something new is announced in church you mentally respond with “Done that before” adding, perhaps, “and it didn’t work”.
Someone shares a testimony and instead of rejoicing with them you adopt a kind of “we’ll see whether it’s really God or not” stance.
When you have been a Christian a long time, it is easy to lose the “wow factor”.
It happened to the Christians in the book of Hebrews. After years of faithfully following Christ it seems that they were tempted to abandon faith.
As you read through the epistle, you find a number of factors working against them.
Firstly, there is no doubt they were under severe pressure. Some had their property confiscated.
Pressure, whatever form it takes, can rob our faith of the “wow factor”. Opposition and persecution force people to make some very hard choices – choices the like of which many Westerners have never had to make.
How do you cope with that pressure? According to Hebrews, you look to Jesus (Hebrews 12.1-3).
Secondly, they experienced the pull of their former religion (Hebrews 8).
When we experience difficulty, we can find the temptation to ‘go back to what we know’. Why? Because it seems safe. Or familiar. ‘What we know’ might be a broken world of substance abuse. Or ungodly relationships. Or it might just be nostalgia for the ‘good old days’ and the way our faith was then. There are all sorts of idols that lurk in our mind that seek to detract from what God wants to do in us today.
In verse thirteen of Hebrews 8, the writer says that the old religion was obsolete. It had never worked in the past and was now set aside by what Jesus did. Your old life never did work! And even the blessings of the past are just that – the past! You need fresh bread today!
Thirdly, they lost the sense of privilege and pleasure in following Jesus (Hebrews 10.32-35). The writer to the Hebrews called on these Christians to remember how they had joyfully responded to difficulty in the past.
Sometimes we simply need to recall how joyful our faith used to be! Recollecting joyful times in our walk with God can create a reconnection with the joy that is produced the “wow factor” that makes our faith so compelling and brings God so much glory.